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Photo by: NIR KEIDAR/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION
Triumphant Pe’er gets Israel on the board in Hungary
By ALLON SINAI
02/07/2014
Julia Glushko had lost the day’s first match in Budapest, Hungary.
 
Israel bounced back from its humbling whitewash at the hands of Ukraine to beat Austria 2-1 in Europe/Africa Zone Group I action in Hungary, Budapest on Thursday.

Shahar Pe'er and Julia Glushko beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner and Tamira Paszek 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the decisive doubles match to get Israel off the mark in Budapest.

Pe'er claimed an impressive 7-5, 6-3 victory over Austria's Yvonne Meusburger in the second match of the day after Glushko had lost the tie's opening match.

Israel didn’t even manage to claim a set in a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Ukraine in its Pool C opener on Wednesday and found itself in a hole in the second day of action after Glushko (ranked No. 90) lost 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (81).

Glushko seemed to have momentum on her side after bouncing back to claim the second set and leading 2-0 in the decider, only for Mayr-Achleitner to reel off the next six games to give Austria a 1-0 lead.

Israel would, however, finally pick up its first victory in Budapest thanks to Pe'er's (86) surprising win over Meusburger (38).  

Pe'er and Glushko then beat Mayr-Achleitner and Paszek in the doubles to improve Israel's record to 1-1.

Israel will complete its Pool C ties when it faces Slovenia on Saturday.

Slovenia is on paper the weakest team in the pool, with its roster including Nastja Kolar (243), Masa Zec-Peskiric (265), Dalila Jakupovic (276) and doubles specialist Andreja Klepac.

Only the winner of the pool will be drawn to play-off against the winner of Pool C or Pool D to determine which nation progresses to the World Group II play-offs in April.

The bottom-placed nation will also contest a play-off, the loser of which will be relegated to Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2015.

Elsewhere, Dudi Sela will have a golden opportunity to reach his first ATP Tour semifinal in two years when he faces world No. 358 Bjorn Phau in the last eight of the Zagreb Indoors on Friday.

Sela (78) needed just 51 minutes to beat Lukas Lacko (102) 6-3, 6-2 in the second round in Croatia on Thursday to secure his progress to the quarterfinals for the second time in three tournaments this year.

"I played the way I needed to and I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals," said Sela. "I hope to build on this form in the next round."

The Israel No. 1 had failed to advance to a single ATP quarterfinal in 2013, with his last appearance in an ATP semifinal coming in Delray Beach, Florida back in February 2012.

The 34-year-old Phau, who came through the qualifiers, stunned No. 2 seed and world No. 14, Michael Youzhny, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the second round on Thursday.
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